Durham Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 17, 2021

            Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends met virtually for the conduct of business on Sunday, October 17, 2021, with 20 people present.  After a period of silence, Clerk, Bob Eaton, opened the meeting.

1.The September minutes were approved as printed in the October Newsletter.

2.Finance Committee: Sarah Sprogell, clerk of the committee, reported that they met on October 15 to discuss where to place the net proceeds from the September sale of the parsonage.  The sale price was $250,000 and after expenses we received a check for $238,045.95 which was deposited into the meeting’s checking account.  The Finance Committee recommends that $238.000 be placed into a New England Yearly Meeting pooled fund with any earnings and dividends to be reinvested in the account, while the meeting takes time to discern its ultimate use or uses.  We expressed gratitude for the work of this committee.

3. We approved the recommendation that $238,000 be placed into the NEYM pooled fund.

4. The Clerks of Meeting Group met by Zoom on 13 October 2021.  Those present were Ingrid Chalufour, Renee Coté, Bob Eaton, Tess Hartford, Wendy Schlotterbeck, Liana Thompson-Knight and Sarah Sprogell.  The Clerks Group is an informal meeting of the clerks of the various committees of the meeting.  It serves as an informal forum for mutual support, information sharing and discussion of meeting issues that may not fall within the mandate of a single meeting committee.

            They addressed the issue of the large cash infusion to the meeting resulting from the sale of the parsonage. The question of how these funds should be considered for the long-term requirements of the Meeting needs attention and falls outside of the limited mandate of the Finance Committee.  They recommend that an ad hoc group be established to give seasoned consideration to the disposition of the proceeds from the sale of the parsonage and to report its recommendations to Meeting for Business.  The group should not feel under pressure for a quick decision but rather meet with an expectation of careful discernment that will involve members of meeting as appropriate.  They recommend that the composition of the ad hoc group consist of the Clerks Group, and three other Friends nominated by the Nominating committee and approved by the meeting.  Margaret Wentworth was recommended as a member of the ad hoc group. 

            The meeting felt that we should have an open listening session to discuss the suggestions made by the ad hoc committee.

5. Trustees:  Kitsie Hildebrandt reported for Trustees who are providing basic information on our Green Burial Area. 

“Green Burial Lot Agreement:

            Single lots are available for purchase in Lunt Memorial Cemetery. Each lot measures 4’ X 8’, allowing room for a small marker and flowers.

            The charge for members of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends is $200.00, the charge for non-members is $350.00.

            A lot may be transferred from one owner to another, only with the approval of the Trustee in charge of the cemetery. If a lot is unused and a written request to return the lot is sent to the Trustees of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends within 10 years of purchase, half of the purchase price will be refunded. 

            A green burial is an unencumbered burial. There is no embalming and no need for a commercial casket.

            The body may be wrapped in a cotton shroud or other decomposable fabric and placed directly in the ground or placed in a plain wooden box and placed in the ground. The required depth for the green burial is 3’.” 

            This information can be found in the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends Handbook.

            Concern was raised about digging of the grave, winter storage of the body, and cremation details.  Cush Anthony suggested contacting the Funeral Alliance of Maine for information. 

            Trustees reported that the parsonage area which includes the building, well and septic on a surveyed lot of just over 2 acres was sold on September 24, 2021.

            We excepted their report with gratitude.

6. Ministry and Counsel:  Renee Cote reported for Ministry and Counsel.  The meeting has purchased the Meeting Owl and have developed a list of arrangements that will be needed for implementation regarding hybrid worship.

            Wendy Schlotterbeck and Leslie Manning are preparing a report written by Martha Hinshaw Sheldon summarizing the Meeting Care Coordinator position, to be presented in November.

            A support committee is in process for Leslie Manning’s emerging ministry with women at the Women’s Center of the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. 

            Ezra Smith has requested a clearness committee for marriage; Tess Hartford, Doug Bennett and Edwin Hinshaw have volunteered to serve. 

            Hybrid worship: Ministry and Counsel is making arrangements to provide hybrid worship which will allow most people to attend meeting in person while allowing others to participate remotely via Zoom.  Their plan and proposals include technical set up using the Meeting Owl, cleaning and safety preparations (install air purifiers), human support arrangements, and meeting participation protocols (vaccination requirement, masks, six feet distance, and no food/refreshments).  They will monitor scientific advice for possible modification or relaxation of these requirements.  Issues to consider: children without vaccination, information for visitors, and message givers in person only?

            A complete list of these suggested arrangements will be attached to the minutes and included in the Newsletter.

7. Falmouth Quarterly Meeting: Leslie Manning, Sarah Sprogell, and Bob Eaton volunteered to be representatives to Quarterly Meeting which meets Saturday, October 23rd 10:00 TO 12:00 via Zoom. 

            `The meeting ended in quiet waiting, and gratitude was expressed for the presence of those in attendance.

            Dorothy Hinshaw, Recording Clerk